Author Topic: Trans. of foreign AGS reviews - upd. 05/10/05 Sam&Max comics translation  (Read 15469 times)

jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
OK, after translating yet another review from plnehry.cz I decided to set up this thread -  a complete overview of my translations. Also all possible future translations on request will go here.

jaz


EDIT: A sticky, huh?! I just wanted to say this: Should anybody else happen to have a translation of AGS game review, please feel free to post it here. You can add your comments on reviews too.
« Last Edit: 03 Nov 2005, 20:58 by MrColossal »

jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Beyond Reality
« Reply #1 on: 05 May 2004, 10:53 »
Beyond Reality –world of beautiful dreams and terrible nightmares

Ian is an adventurer. But the his last adventure may be too much for him. Rescue mission into dreamworld to save kidnapped girl turns into fight against nightmares in this nice Lucas Arts style adventure .

Today´s point ´n click game Beyond Reality is one of the most recent novelties from ever spreading AGS scene. It offers an interesting story, sympatic main character and its graphics and sound are, excellent at many places. – but unfortunately it´s not free of bugs.

But let´s have a look at the plot first. After one of his many exhausting adventures, our hero, Ian, gets into a nasty storm. He gets lost and has to seek a shelter in a nearby hotel. After a little conversation with receptionist lights went out for a while. Then in the darkness, an old man confuses a box of pills and has a heart attack. But even worse, the door open and strange voices could be heard from the outside. Ian rushes out only to see hooded Dream Demon with giant lollipop luring old man´s granddaughter out. Abduction is successful despite Ian´s effort and mother of the girl, a member of secret brotherhood and keeper of gates between ordinary and dream world comes late.

After short conversation Ian as a true hero, offers himself to rescue the kid from demons hands. The keeper agrees. Dozens of sleep pills do the job and Ian is ready to discover both, world inhabited by likes of him – people who just fall deep asleep, the world created by dreams of thousands of human beings, and, separated only by a thin border, realm of nightmares and creatures from the worst dreams and – politicians like Mort Kittensoft. This man was elected a governor which freed his hands to carry out an evil plan. To capture souls of innocent yet esoterically sensible children, which is first step to open a timespace gap which is needed for jump into somewhere between dream world and real world in order to take over both and introduce tyranny. Will Ian be able to prevent this to happen?

Yes, of course, the main premises of plot are not overly original. Journeys into dreams have been there before, as well as saving little child/world scenario is a bit cliché. But story is presented in a very interesting way and at a high level.. Dreamworld has been created with a lot of fantasy so absence of plot innovations doesn´t matter at all. Game is pleasantly long, offers numerous locations and interesting characters (rock painting man, guard with arachnophobia) and the puzzles are entertaining (Bag jumping puzzle has been influenced by MI´s spiting contest for sure, but it´s not a bad thing at all) As for the graphics, roughly half of the locations are excellent, the other half is a bit worse but even those are far from being ugly. Music is excellent all the way and, regarding instalation file size, there is a lot of it.

So, standing ovations so far. But, unfortunately, this game is far from being perfect. But it could have been if only the incredible amount of program and scripting bugs was fixed. When the game was first released, about a month ago, it wasn´t even possible to finish it. But one has to be careful even now - some combinations of items could make game freeze which situation only can be solved by loading. So you should save quite often. Game also tends to crash unexpectedly, especially when anti – aliasing is on. Then it´s not possible to skip cutscenes with Esc – game crashes to Windows immediately. Enter some locations in this mode could be problematic as well. I don´t recommend to run BR in normal mode under Win XP at all, since it´s stable only under Win 95 compatibility mode. But on the other hand, why miss a beautiful adventure game with excellent atmosphere and gameplay because of bugs that can be avoided by frequent saving and occasional glance at a walkthrough which is also available at Plne Hry.

jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Novo Mestro
« Reply #2 on: 05 May 2004, 10:54 »
Novo Mestro – an artistic freeware game?

Novo Mestro is an pretentious freeware adventure game which claims to be artistic and have other than entertaining qualities too. What do you think Is it possible or is it just an advertisement guff?

For some time I´ve been defending an opinion that games should rank amongst art just like film or literature. Unfortunately nor critics nor ordinary people accept the existence of „interactive art“. But how should we rate titles like Myst, Atlantis, Ring or Syberia, not to mention an awesome epic TLJ?

The above mentioned titles are fully commercial products. Today´s Novo Mestro is a freeware The author proclames that the goal of this game is to be more art than a game on his website. Let´s see if he succeeded.

Novo Mestro takes place on three screens and doesn´t have a classic story line. You can´t finish this game as well and it´s not a game actually. Interactivity consists of walking the character across the screens and choosing which of his two friends to talk to first. We can say that controls are true point ´n click classics. RMB changes action, LMB executes the command. Thank to AGS engine saving/loading works fine and this originally DOS game runs well even under newest Windows.

Why should anyone be interested in this game? Art may be a certain reason. Ermm… I don´t know what´s so artistic on scrawls ten years kid would draw better. In any case, graphics was a huge disappointment for me. It was messy and, well, I´m not afraid to say, ugly.

Last thing to mention is testimony given by main character and his two friends – Jesenice and Maribor, some report on the end of the world an transition of humans to more or less energy based lifeform.

Even the last chance to be artistic had been wasted. Who wil understand Maribor´s metaphysical and seemingly profound but bland and utterly boring explications, will lost all the patience during maybe even longer monologues of Jesenice. And not all is explained, only a rough outline of apocalyptical vision of end of the mankind is presented, without any conclusion. Player has feeling of unfinishedness (is this a word??? –probably not, jaz) He doesn´t get to solve the outlined problem. Someone might object that Novo Mestro´s goal is to raise questions to think about and to come to own conclusion and he might be right. But personally I know better ways of self-reflexion than concentrated boredom of this strange game/game?

To sum it up – I don´t think that the author has succeded to complete his goals. Novo Mestro is really not a game… it´s not an art . Novo Mestro is one big fat nothing. Who wants to feel intelectual can download it and pretend he understands Maribor´s and Jesenice´s nonsense but he won´t gain anything as Novomestro will be a bitter disappointment for him.

jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Bestowers of Eternity
« Reply #3 on: 05 May 2004, 10:56 »
Bestowers of Eternity - an esoteric adventure

Bestowers of Eternity are undoubtedly a pearl amongst this winter´s freeware adventure games. A story of young writer whose world falls apart over the course of two . An esoteric adventure begins.
Just lately we can see a pleasant trend in adventure games as these get more serious. These games don´t limit themselves to old Sierra games parody or plain wackiness denying all adventure principles. Humour pour humour´s heyday is gone and serious titles with more challenging plot that aren´t affraid to go into more serious topics are more and more common. And BOE is one of the best. The beginning promises a complicated yet pleasant esoteric adventure full of mystery and you can bet the strong atmosphere of this game will swallow you for sure.

The main chracter´s name is Rosa. She is a young debuting writer who lives alone in a small flat in the New York city. No relatives, no fiends. But her family´s past is not free from evil events and she she soon has to feel consequences of these. Her aunt had spent twenty years in a sanitarium and she has a fix idea that her body is permanently in fire which consumes it cell by cell. But she is not the only insane. Even Rosa´s grandmother had suffered from the same symptoms - and the doctors are afraid that it could be hereditary and that Rosa could soon suffer the same. Just a few could withstand such a news without a heavy impact on their psychique. Guards (or watchmen, gatekeepers...I don´t know the plot so I´m not sure what word to use - jaz) strike doesn´t add much to her mental state. She even cannot get back to her apartment (which situation leads to uncomfortable realisation of her own loneliness and melancholy life) Not to mention unexplicable seizures of pain that always occur to her while nearby merry –go- round in the park.

Start of BOE is very promising. It introduces numerous characters and player can gain a lot of information on them to draw a picture. The game can be thrilling and satisfies player regularly by unveiling another part of complicated mosaic of facts behind the events. But these pieces often raise even more complicated questions which is plain excellent. As playing BOE gave me goosebumps at times, the only comments I would have towards story are its shortness and open ending. Author has promised to add final chapters within a few months though. Of course the maker of game ids fully entitled to make an open ending but BOE plot really deserves a conclusion..

As for graphics - it´s solid, however it cannot compare to the top of the line. Maybe, considering a fairly small number of locations, the author could have put more effort into creating them. But he didn´t thus the game´s visuals are not exactly stunning. On the other hand, there is nothing I could say against soundtrack. The music is mysterious, thrilling and varied. It adds much to the atmosphere of the game. Presence of speech vox file could lead to a conclusion that BOE is a talkie. But it´s not. There are only a few loops of dog´s barking. But who knows? Maybe sometimes we´ll se a talkie patch - just like Tiera´s adventures

My overall rating of BOE is definitely high. It´s a pleasant surprise and one of the best freeware adventure games of this year at the same time, in spite other games that may be longer and surpass it technically. But the plot and atmosphere of this game deserve an A+ and maybe even A++.


jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Grr! Bearly Sane
« Reply #4 on: 05 May 2004, 10:58 »
Grr! Bearly Sane –Bear´s revenge

Dan is a poor fellow. Not only he has to work his ass out under a cruel boss for a minimum wage but he also has to wear a disgustingly merry bear mask and to be nice to little evil brats. What happens when his patience reaches a critical level?

Grr! Bearly Sane is simply an excellent game. It offers an easy to empathise everyday life story., original puzzles, innovative game mechanisms and it offers a good amusement value. The main character´s name is Dan and he is a poor fellow. Why? Well, he works for peanuts, his boss is mean and the job is simply humilating. Kids just kick his balls and dogs take a pee on him. He runs out of his patience faster than it´s usual. And what happens if he runs out of it completely? Well, you´re going to find out in this game whose name is a clever game with words. Dan finally decides to revenge on his fat arrogant boss after he tells him he won´t get no money this month due to improper behaviour towards visitors. (And by „visitors“ the boss meant seemingly innocent boy that kicked Dan´s balls once again). That means Dan cannot pay his rent and he is kicked out of his apartment. Misery is complete with a dog taking a pee on his foot.
The Boss Must Die! But – how to do this? There is a shooting – gallery loaded with potential leathal weapons. But there is also a guy even the owner of the shooting- gallery is afraid of. There are more obstacles scattered through the amusement park/fair. Staff only doors remain closed to him although he technically is an employee. Snack machine allows him to pay for his food but refuses to give it away. And a little graffiti spraying brat won´t even let him get close to him under threat of lawsuit since his father is a lawyer. There is an interesting innovation in this game. It´s called anger meter and it simply measures how upset the main character is. It ´s not there for nothing. Some actions could be done only if the character reaches a certain level of anger. He has to be red - hot to destroy the snack machine or to definitely get rid of his hated boss because he wouldn´t even think about such things at a normal sane state.

Anger meter enriches the atmosphere of course, but at the same time it makes the game more difficult since it´s not enough to simply use everything on everything and go through all dialogue branches. But on the other hand, the puzzles are mostly logical and make sense. There is a verb-coin interface which is a bit uncommon for an AGS product.
The game is excellent graphic-wise and it features, apart from beautiful (however a bit off- perspective) backgrounds, a fair amount of animations. It runs in 640x480 resolution and it´s a pure eye candy. The tunes are also pleasant to listen to. Ending credits with a folk song are funny too.
Almost all important has been said and there is nothing more to say than what has been said at the very beginning: Grr! Bearly Sane is an excellent game.

PS: there is also a walkthrough available.


jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Dada: Stagnation in Blue
« Reply #5 on: 05 May 2004, 10:59 »
Dada: Stagnation in Blue – a double dose of depression

This game is simply insane. Deadly ill, depressive, dark and hopeless. People commit suicide after seeing first few screens. They slide on graters to pools of iodine exhorting nameless gods of death and suffering...


Blue word doesn´t know nor remorse, nor joy nor joy, nor love. It knows only hate, violence torture, suffering, darkness and horrible, insurmountable disillusion. It is a remarkable experience to play this game. We haven´t seen such an atmospheric (yet depressive) title in a long time. Also this game could claim to be an interactive art because it was created using dada methods of random collage. Maybe not exactly using famous Tristan Czara´s recipe but Dada is visually completely different from all the rest of freeware adventure games. It´s one huge collage of seemingly random elements. But these are part well crafted bigger picture. Dada is also a proof that you don´t have to draw well to create a good game.
We don´t recommend the children to play this game since it can have a heavy impact on human psychique. And I´m not kidding or exagerrating. Also depressive or mentally unstable persons should beware of this game. It´s strange but also judging from discussion forums posts it can do nasty things to your mind. The plot, if there is something like that, spins around suicide. It´s the main goal of weird newspaper avatar aka player. While searching for suitable knife he meets a ferryman who gets paid by diamonds, hopeless woman who cries days and nights and hides her face because she doesn´t look like beautiful model and - at the first place – a disrupted family psychedelically potrayed by huge shadow of father – alcoholic and bully, with bottle of beer in one hand and knife in the other, ready to make his wife cry. Why? Because her tears please him. One would expect that player will try to help the poor woman. But no, not in Dada. On the contrary, Dada will force avatar to leave her and her little child at the mercy of her brutal husband. The end of this delirium cannot be but bloody and depressive. The story itself is not much dadaistic as you see. Maybe we could see some parallels to expressionism or decadence. On the other hand, as surrealists let their subconscious thoughts flow during their automatic writing, they sometimes even didn´t know what they wrote as they fell totally exhausted. Regarding this, Dada could be considered an attempt on „automatic game“ But it´s not much positive thought. What more horrors hide inside the author of this insanity?

Audio-visual elements of this game are, how I have said before, formed by dada or surrealistic collage of elements. Graphics are all cut and pasted. Music is a collage of classical melodies of Bach, Beethoven and Pachelbel. Presence of Anne Saxtons lines of verses is also worth mentioning.
However, in this case, using unoriginal artwork is if not legal then it´s legitimate for sure as this game (successfully) attempts to be artistic.

Dada was probably a catharsis for it´s author. If you want to try something extraordinary amongst more than 1200 freeware games on the AGS site, don´t hesitate. But beware. Not everyone could handle all the horrors. Luckily this game has only about ten screens because otherwise… Sanitarium couldn´t hold a candle to this one.

« Last Edit: 05 May 2004, 12:53 by jaz »

jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Puddy Penguin
« Reply #6 on: 05 May 2004, 11:00 »
Puddy Penguin – penguin versus yetti

A terrible monster has settled in the land of Puddy. It killed uncle Boris and threatens all the others. Is there anyone who could face it and kill it or at least kick it off? Everybody fear the monster, only little Puddy is brave enough to give it at least a try..

MAGS is an interesting project which has been running for more than two years already. Monthly AGS Competition. This contest is held monthly and the goal is to create an adventure game using AGS within one month. The rules are set by previous winner. Not only short time limit makes this difficult but also the game has to fit the requirements which change every month. There are three or four contestants every month, games are freeware. The games are usually of low quality because of the time limit but from time to time comes a pleasant surprise.

Puddy Penguin – winner of one of previous MAGS contests is one of these little gems. The hero is a young Puddy the Penguin. He lives with his parents in a comfy igloo somewhere in Antarktis (don´t mess up with animated cartoon Pingu the Penguin, resemblance is purely coincidental). One day he finds out that horrible and dangerous monster threatens the neighbourhood. When he discovers that it killed his uncle and best friend, Boris and destroyed his igloo, he gets really mad and takes a decision: When everybody is scared, he will fight him ant get rid of him. The basic plot is obvious but not everything is straight as it could seem to be. Puddy will surprise you. Not to mention that the game has two endings which is rarely seen in amateur adventure games.

Technical side of Puddy is fascinating. It´s true that scripting, especially combining inventory items is not the best we´ve seen but visually Puddy is one of the very best AGS games (AGS, not MAGS! - jaz). The fire is burning in the igloo, snowing outside changes the intensity. Graphics are in 640x480 and offer well crafted snow-icy backgrounds. It´s more difficult to judge the music since the theme is annoying. On the other hand, the game is so short that it doesn´t matter much.

As I have already mentioned, Puddy is very short, it will take you about ten minutes to combine about five items, talk to few characters and beat it. Story is simple but nice, especially the kids could love the little Penguin´s stories. The only problem is that the game is in English but there is not much dialogues and it´s pretty intuitive too. Only the controls could have been better. It takes some time to figure out which pictogram represents which action. If I was to compare Puddy with complete freeware adventure scene, it would be only a little over average which can brighten your break at work or tame annoying child. But it stands high above rest of the MAGS projects as it can hold the candle to the regular projects. And considering amount of work which had been done during one single month – hats off.

jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Postman Only Dies Once
« Reply #7 on: 05 May 2004, 11:02 »
Postman Only Dies Once.

What a weird name for a freeware adventure game by Reality on the Norm Team (apparently a misunderstanding of RON concept) that was created using AGS. This game has won numerous AGS 2001 Awards (2002 Awards haven´t been awarded yet, only nominations were presented)

Main character of the game is detective Max Griff. Experienced private eye doesn´t do much business lately and his office floor is covered by unpaid bills. One evening Max sits behind his desk meditating over his critical situation when he hears somebody screaming outside. His intuition tells him that this might be an interesting case and he rushes out quickly.

Outside he sees dead postman laying in puddle of blood, a good friend of many town folks. Standing over the postman, there is an instant suspect – a zombie And what the hell – there is a sheriff rushing into the scene. It doesn´t take him too much time to solve the case. He demands an explanation and when our orderly zombie is not able to speak a word, he promptly arrests him and puts him into local jail.

It seems like another unhappy end of the case. But next day an unexpected visitor comes to his office- an intrusive journalist Mika that pays him to investigate the case and forces him to take her as his partner.

That´s when the player takes over the control. His mission is to walk through the town and question all possible suspects, find out who was the real murderer and free our poor innocent zombie.
This all comes as a classical point and click adventure game, like most games created with AGS (note that it´s possible to make for example an arcade game with AGS)

I wont tell you more of the story because it would spoil the fun it´s on everybody to fight his way through, but I can tell you that the story overall is very good and that a vast majority of players wont know how the game will end till the last moment.

Atmosphere of the game is specific. Town where the game takes place is kind of Wild West style, there is a sheriff but is significantly more civilised than the towns were in the second half of 19th century. And particularly: one encounters undead frequently. Somebody might like such a hotch-potch, somebody may just grin but in any case it´s an interesting mix.

Unfortunately technical side of the game is not the best we have seen. All graphics are computer drawn and one can tell. Main character is OK but his animations doesn´t match the those of Dieter from Permanent Daylight. Environment is mostly visually poor and too thick outlines of the objects don´t add much to overall feeling.

The conclusion: PODO is only slightly above average adventure game. It has an interesting story, rich dialogues, both, funny and serious moments and can entertain a player for more than a couple of minutes, but it´s only a second class game compared to Permanent Daylight, P.D. or recently reviewed hit – Out of Order.

jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Apprentice
« Reply #8 on: 05 May 2004, 11:03 »
Apprentice – a magic adventure


To be an apprentice of a great wizard, that´s Pib´s greatest wish even though his father had been a pinnacle of chivalry. But Pib is different and today is going to be his great day, the day of his first spell. Will he succeed? It´s up to you…

Big freeware adventures like KQ 2, The Uncertainity Machine or recently reviewed That Night Before don´t come out every day. Fortunately there are is a fair number of smaller interesting projects. Apprentice is one of these a pleasant game that keeps you entertained for about an hour. The game was created by H.E.P. using AGS by CJ.

The game starts with strange intro that is separated from the rest of the story, that really wasn´t necessary. Main character, a wizard apprentice Pib is confronted with history of his father – a great knight. Pib is forced to choose a „career“ of knight instead of his beloved magic. Pib refuses but it´s a classic nightmare. He wakes up pretty nervous in the morning. This motive is not very important in game itself so we only hope that more will be explained in possible sequels

After intro the game concerns on Mortimer Pibsworth´s aka Pib´s big day. He has to leave the theory ond create his first own spell. He gets the instructions from his elderly master to obtain three ingredients necessary to perform the magic procedure which outcome is to remain surprise to the very end. Master then leaves for nearby oasis to get some magic water. The ingredients are cheese, cucumber and oregano powder. Cheese is not anywhere near so it will be necessary to make it from cow milk. It´s not as hard to figure out as how to get the powder since Pib doesn´t know the herb or how to get a delicious cucumber sandwich from angry woman at the crossroad.

Apprentice sports a nice comprehensive story that doesn´t go too far away for a project of this size. It would be hard to save the world or princess on seven screens and not to make the game looking awkward. Plot of apprentice is on appropriate level and the point is surprisingly bitter.

Game design is very good as well, all tasks and combinations are logical except opening the closet and sandwich book puzzle and if you think a little bit you can solve all the puzzles without combining everything together.

Apprentice is a point and click adventure but the interface might have been better, All commands are on roll up panel at the bottom of the screen or under 1, 2, 3 and 4 keys (look, pick up, talk, use) and it is not possible to skip through with RMB which is surprisingly useless. There is a magic book – like inventory which is stylish but it´s only possible to look at two items at once which forces the player to list through up to ten objects. It´s almost like in Tomb Raider which really is not optimal.

Graphics are in 320 x 200 and even though the game works in higher resolutions, it pixelates noticeably. But otherwise there is nothing to complain about its drawn glory. Especially Pib´s room, magic tower and barn interior are just sweet. But the other backgrounds don´t fall behind. Maybe Pib is a little bit of a disappointment since he is not very detailed and his movements are bit clumsy

Music, however, is excellent, little bit short but it wont annoy you soon. Fairy tale tunes are memorable

All important had been said and it´s upon everybody to decide whether to download this slightly bigger file or not. Walkthrough is also available at plnehry.


jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Who Wants To Live Forever
« Reply #9 on: 05 May 2004, 11:06 »
Who Wants To Live Forever

Who Wants To Live Forever? A suggestive question in the title of even more suggestive game. WWTLF is an interactive movie, but a good one, full of emotions and with unexpectedly sad autumn mood. Old love doesn´t rust!

WWTLF is one of the most peculiar and unique adventures recently. WWTLF is more a short interactive movie than a game, but it´s not bad at all because the plot is strong and authors have more than succeeded in evoking sad autumn atmosphere. You won ´t understand what I mean if you don´t try. This game is very moving even though the graphics are not excellent and there are some things that could have been thought out better.

Main character is an elderly writer Andrew Barksdale whose women had passed and his last – and only – friend, Sean, is dying. Now he is alone with a shelf full of books. Wait –there is something more. Last wish. To find a girl named Gail and to give her a present from the dead friend which he haven´t given to her even though he had loved her all his life. He wasn´t able to express his feeling and he was only to see his love to marry an old rich man. The man passed and she inherited his millions and now she lives in luxury in his mansion

Andrew goes to places where he spent his childhood with Sean and remembers long forgotten memories of kid´s games and first loves. Nostalgic mood is replaced by a deep depression at the end Heroes realise that their lives are vain. Possible connections between them are getting clear shapes and they see that they could have lived thousands of happy days should they have chosen different way, but nothing can be brought back. They all die. But not completely. When Andrew reaches the end of his way he gets an interesting offer…

WWTLF is a short game (maybe term game is not appropriate) Regarding it´s linearity and difficulty the playtime is about 15 minutes. Nobody should get stuck in this game.

Controls are simple, it´s enough to click with LMB, RMB on hotspots, no inventory is necessary. Only one more difficult aspect of the game is the diary in which are encrypted some important information necessary to solve the puzzles. The difficulty is really really low, but it´s not a minus If we consider WWTLF an interactive movie then the story has to flow fluently and rich plot should grab the players attention and that´s what low difficulty and plot does.

Music is excellent and exactly fits the mood it really enriches the atmosphere. It´s also thanks to music that nobody will laugh at sometimes overcomplicated relationships. It´s a pity that graphics don´t match the sound. Some screens are fine but some just seem too simple. Especially the characters are too schematic and they don´t fit in the detailed Bgs. They lack more shading. and facial expressions are too sharp. Only few BGs are excellent, especially the autumn forest.

Who wants to download WWTLF can expect pleasant 15 minutes which will maybe make him to think about whether he doesn´t live the same life as heroes of this interactive movie. I can´t say that this game will force people to forget their vain desires and turn toward people they love and so on but even to think about it is a good thing.

P.S. you won´t need a walkthrough this time but it´s available in any case.
« Last Edit: 05 May 2004, 12:59 by jaz »

jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Cirque de Zale
« Reply #10 on: 05 May 2004, 11:07 »
Cirque de Zale – journey to another dimension

There was just an innocent prank at the beginning, then revenge and journey to another dimension: a fairy tale world. And there – quest for saving the world and a beautiful princess? No… Cirque de Zale is not in any case an ordinary adventure game…

At the beginning there was a little prank. The hero, Alexander Zale, a janitor in not so trendy circus  whose duties consist mainly of disposing excrements played this one on his mean annoying and conceited boss – a charlatan sorcerer Astoundo. When Astoundos hassle finally crossed the line Alexander decided to prepare a little mean surprise for the bloke. He chose his hat – main propriety of the show and he put one shovelfull of excrements inside. During his stunt Astoundo pompously thrust his hands into the hat only to pull out a piece of elephant shit instead of cute bunny. No wonder the Master of Magic was rather upset. In fact he was in a rage – and the aftermath was totally unexpected one. Astoundo cast a spell – a real one!- and sent Alexander to another dimension and left him helpless in a foreign city in a foreign land.

Alexander gathers first pieces of advice from a man who saw his arrival and goes to visit the king. The two headed king offers him a chance to become a real hero – an evil sorcerer threatens the country and has kidnapped the princess – and it surely was a work of fate that Alexander came at this very place at this very moment, he will become a saviour! A stereotypical plot. But Alexander is different and he turns down the offer. His ambitions are to become a principal of his very own Circus, much better and inviting than the one he worked in

Hiring new artists and stunts is the main scope of this game which is one of today’s most funny and playable point ‘n’ click adventures. The game literally overflows with jokes and keeps Simon the Sorcerer line. The humour is pitch black and characters like cricket players, impolite fisherman, broke entertainer, blind xylophone tuner and many others will make you laugh. Dialogues are perfect as well.

Gamedesign itself doesn’t much suffer from flaws, logical puzzles are really logical and often very creative and it’s also nice that player always knows what is expected from him thanks to main character’s comments.

The interface uses SCUMM and is similar to classic LEC ones form the beginning  of nineties
Graphics wise the game brings back memories of MI or DOTT – beautiful, in 320x200 resolution. Especially the character sprites and animations are excellent. Backgrounds are a bit inconsistent. Some are breathtaking, others seem to be a bit rushed and would deserve more attention to detail.
There are only a few tunes thus they become repetitive soon. There are no voices.

Surprise named Cirque de Zale left The Inventory editor Dimitris Manos breathless. The game was awarded Title of the Month even though Syberia 2 was reviewed in the same issue! 18% higher rating than potential blockbuster from Microids speaks for itself. The first effort by Rebecca Clements is of course not free from minor bugs but it shouldn’t put you off avid playing.
 
 

jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Conspiracy of Songo
« Reply #11 on: 05 May 2004, 11:12 »
Conspiracy of Songo – a perfect adventure

Conspiracy of Songo is simply one of best freeware adventure games of this year. It´s long but not too much difficult, it offers an interesting story with a light twist of conspiracy, lovestory and a casual joke from time to time. Fluent and enjoyable gameplay is a hallmark of this project.

Conspiracy of Songo was created by well known AGS engine. This tool created by CJ has already been used by hundreds of developers but these titles were in many cases bland with only a few screens standard interface and minimum of puzzles. This, however, doesn´t apply to this game. Sierra interface had been replaced by a single click one and the author had succeeded in designing really logical puzzles using advanced scripting.

But the ground of every adventure game is indeed a story. Here we have two characters – Jerry and Sheila who encounter a shark during Sheila´s birthday sail. Trying to escape they shipwreck on the shores of an unknown island. Sheila is injured so Jerry goes to seek help in a nearby town. Soon he gets arrested by two armed detectives and is sentenced to spend rest of his life in a cage for conjectural theft of statute of local god Songo. Next day Sheila goes to search for her missing friend and slowly gets involved into web of mystery of the statute which has power to fulfil the wishes of prayers. There are 25 –30 locations that are here to discover for Sheila, the “detective newbie“ , including the island and two towns that were affected by Songo madness. It is possible to interact with about 10 well profiled NPC´s to push the story further.

Design and especially puzzle design is a big plus of this game. It´s true that at the very beginning  player encounters an illogical moment (climbing a cliff on bottle is quite unusual) but this will soon be forgotten thanks to other puzzles like vodka cups puzzle and hilarious job interview. Fortunately, difficulty is not that high and the gameplay flows pleasantly. Somehow harder puzzles are at the end of the games. Authors have almost completely avoided pixel hunting, there is only minimum of miniature and almost invisible objects which should be appreciated. Playtime counts approx. half a dozen hours which is excellent for a freeware game. As for storytelling and game actions, there are only words of praise for Songo.


If we´re to find a weak spot of the game and it´s probably going to be the graphics. It still is well above average compared to another games on PH (the server, PH stands for Plné Hry, Full Games in English), but it´s hard to suppress the feeling of emptiness in some locations as the drawing seems sometimes oversimplified . It´s however, necessary to mention that it´s noticeable that the author was continually getting better, as you progress further you will see more attractive locations. There is nothing to complain about sound, maybe it would be interesting to make a talkie but even without speech the sound is very good. Music varies quite often and it adds to relaxed atmosphere of the game.

To sum it up, I will repeat what has already been written in the first paragraph – one of the best amateur adventure games recently. If you are interested in a long relaxed and well made adventure, don´t let the size of this game discourage you.

jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Re: Translations of foreign AGS reviews
« Reply #12 on: 07 Jun 2004, 14:48 »
A bit of self promotion ;):

Coup de Cup – a pleasant short adventure

Mystique of the blue cup in AGS community strongly influenced the plot of today´s adventure game. Will you succeed in carrying out an artful robbery of this cult item?

Community of AGS developers is by far the largest one amongst similar adventure gaming communities. There are a few Czech authors too and these are responsible for today´s game Coup de Cup. This game has been done for MAGS competition which has already been running for a couple of years. The rules are rather simple. The goal is to create an adventure game based upon given theme and conditions within one month limit. The rules may for example lay down the plot, characters, setting, inventory items or pieces dialogue. The winner sets the rules for next month competition.

One month limit is not much time and vast majority of MAGS games include only a few locations, five or six inventory items and miniature plot. However, a surprisingly quality game appears in the competition from time to time – mostly it applies to audio visual elements of the game, some projects have a good story or playability.  For example adventures of Puddy the Penguin became quite popular amongst the readers.

Today´s Coup de Cup from Jaz and Foz is in particular very stylish. The plot is not very complicated but it´s presented in humorous way and it´s pleasantly entertaining. The main character is Mortimer Morgan who, during an ordinary breakfast, gets involved in argument with his father over the crisis of the trade. This leads to a crazy bet. Mortimer promises that he will drink his coffee from more exclusive hollow ware: from precious, mystique and cult blue cup which is displayed in local museum for the first time in history. 

Bet is accepted and Mortimer swears he will carry out the action without weapon and any help, with only Swiss knife in his pocket. And this is very important premise since the action flows in purely combination mood. Mortimer,  player has to appropriately use minimal resources in order to get into the museum, get rid of guard and security camera and open the cup display case.

The important thing is that Mortimer is not an armed robbery type of guy. Even though the pacification of guard is not completely peaceful, the game is free of violence and attempts to create feelings of sympathy towards the main character as a master of his trade whose actions are not entirely legal but who acts in accordance with his own, basically very moral codex.

As we are talking about a MAGS game, nobody can be surprised that the game includes only three bigger locations, minimum of NPC´s and simple plot. Nonetheless the game time is not that short – puzzles the player has to solve require to use the grey brain cells and solutions of some obstacles (i.e. befuddling the security camera) are pleasingly original.

Big plus of this game is long and amusing intro which successfully presents the main character and draws you into the game itself, as well as really good outro (which is also quite funny, however the first joke is a bit predictable).

GFX are also stylised and you can´t tell that they were done in rush. However not everybody may like mostly faded out greyish backgrounds. As for music, there is absolutely nothing to criticise.
The conclusion is unambiguously positive: short adventure game Coup de Cup is stylish, entertaining and makes you want to play the possible sequel (even though the authors are presently working on different project.)

 


jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator – A Case of  Stinking Ape

First instalment of excellent X-Files and mystery magazines inspired adventure series brings us complicated case of serial murder  and also a myth of Stinking Ape, starring private eye, Ben Jordan. Will he find out what really happened?

 Private detective Ben Jordan is a brand new hero of freeware adventure scene. This distinct character should be a link between series of shorter adventure games. In each game Ben will face one mysterious case. Ben is not an ordinary detective – he specialises in mysteries and paranormal phenomena. The author Francisco Gonzales didn´t hesitate to confess that he was heavily inspired by Fox Mulder, Dana Scully and whole X –Files series. Even though Ben doesn´t resemble Fox much he is equally brave, sceptic and willing to fight. Burt enough about Ben, let´s take a look at his very first adventure.

The case is intricate and obscure. The title In the Search of the Skunk-Ape foreshadows that Ben will have to deal with some quite stinking monkey. The odour of aforementioned ape is not what bothers Everglades National Park folks. It´s more likely it´s habit of murdering people. Nobody who saw it in the forest survived. Disgustingly mutilated corpses of two national park employees were already found – just about time to call Ben Jordan. He sets off for Everglades to find that the situation is quite serious. The man who called him is dead as well already and Florida Everglades headquarters is seized with fear. Everybody is aware of one thing. To go to the jungle is hazardous plying with life.

Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator Case 1: In Search of the Skunk-Ape is a perfect part of the series. It´s a bit shorter bud well thought out game which doesn´t put much obstacles in the player´s  way through, but thanks to interesting and mysterious story it keeps the attention of player to the very end. Most puzzles require logical thinking (maybe except shark tooth puzzle) and the author successfully avoided adventure clichés. Controls are of AGS standard, which means not the top of the line interface but convenient  Sierra remakes – like changing cursor (Larry VGA or KQ VGA) Inventory and save/load work properly.
 
Graphics wise Ben Jordan is a slightly over the average of freeware adventure games. Some backgrounds are very well coloured but the main character lacks detail (his in game sprite  practically doesn´t have face) and some locations seem a bit rushed and empty. What deserves attention though are dialogue windows which bring detail view of NPC. This gives the game a lot more character.
 
The conclusion: Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator Case 1: In Search of the Skunk-Ape (quite lengthy title, huh?) is really nice shorter adventure game that offers suspense, entertainment and makes you want to see the sequel.

The walkthrough is also available

jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Ben Jordan 2 – A case of lost treasure galleon

Second instalment of adventure series featuring paranormal investigator Ben Jordan brings player to desert lake which, according to the old tale, holds a galleon with treasure. Will Ben find the ship and save lost George Robertson?
 
Most people meet paranormal phenomena only in TV series or mystery dedicated magazines. But then there are people  who are more lucky – and we are not talking weirdos, mediums or guys with supernatural powers (acquired mostly due to mutation). For Ben Jordan - a cool American guy strange phenomena, living myths and various hazardous situations are his daily bread. Ben Jordan is P.I. but in this case the abbreviation doesn´t stand for Private Investigator but for Paranormal Investigator. And a pretty busy one. Not that long ago he had to deal with stinking ape murdering people in Everglades and now the fortune leads him to the desert lake Salton Sea.

Small town of Dunesberg, CA lays at the very edge of  large and hostile desert. The town itself is a sleepy hollow nobody would care about if there wasn´t something special about it which draws tourists to this place. An old legend is told in the town  that Spanish galleon with huge treasure sailed the Salton Sea – and found it´s doom in  lake´s salty waters

Many explorers and adventurers searched for the galleon but with no success. Even local folk don´t believe it actually exists. Except few. George Robertson set off to search for the ship – and disappeared. His loved significant other didn´t waste any time and called the most respected capacity. Ben Jordan is back in action.

 Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator Case 2: The Lost Galleon of the Salton Sea is (except from being hot favourite of longest adventure game title contest) again a perfect series title.

X- File influence is apparent. Story of lost galleon is about twice as long as the first game and will keep you  entertained for an hour, maybe a bit longer.

Plot is clever ansd suspense, even puzzles are not that  primitive and straightforward as in Stinking Ape. The story is a bit more serious which is good

There are no problems with controls and it seems like Ben Jordan 2 took all what was good from the first part, only now the game is longer and more challenging.
 
As for graphics, it´s very good at some places, but it looks like bigger number of locations caused that many are just average and not very visually appealing. Those really good ones – like the room at the very beginning, pharmacy or bar are lost in average of the rest. I must also complain about the character sprite again – it doesn´t have face and also his animation could use some tweaking. On the other hand the music is qite good, mysterious and fits the mood of the locations well

Overaly Ben Jordan 2 is indeed a bit better than the first part but there is certainly place for improvement for next instalments. But it doesn´t change anything on fact that we are looking forward to see them

Walkthrough is available.
 



jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Apprentice II: The Knight's Move – a wonderful adventure

Interesting , thrilling and in all respects elaborated story, detailed 2D hand drawn graphics. Is this what you consider to be a perfect adventure game? If so you will find pleasure in Apprentice II since it has it all.

If you think that a quality freeware title can be made only by fair and square programming, this well crafted adventure game will completely undeceive you

The ever spreading Adventure Game Studio was used as a development tool. AGS was used for making of many titles including Czech Bill de Bill or Chmelnica.

Perfect intro will introduce you into the story. A stoned hobo tells you how miserable things in the village are these days,. You can see for yourself that most buildings are scorched and just few remaining nonplussed inhabitants evil Lord Ironcrow didn´t manage to catch so far are running around
 
As a last resort the hobo turns to wise sorcerer who is living in the tower on the top of the hill. Before he manages to explain everything he drops unconscious due to heavy alcohol intoxication…

Conversation between sorcerer and his apprentice is then disturbed by arrival of  arch enemy – Lord Ironcrow. His goal is to recruit Pib for his army, something his master and teacher can´t allow. The bad guy leaves but promises to be back . After this unpleasant incident both, apprentice and sorcerer return to their beds to get some more good sleep.

When the first rays of sunlight appear, young apprentice wakes up and you take control over him. You hesitate at first as if the events of last night were just a dream but your master confirms that, sadly,  it all was true. Your only chance is to become a real sorcerer which of course won´t be easy. To reach the goal you will have to fulfil three quandary tasks. You take everything you need from your bedroom and set off to nearby village.

Apart from village you can visit a couple of other locations by choosing from the map. Because Apprentice II is a classic point and click adventure, virtually,all your actions will be executed by mouse buttons. Right mouse button cycles between pick up, use and look at commands.

 As for technical side of the game – there is almost nothing to complain about. Apprentice II is 2D adventure game but the backgrounds are superb and sound is top notch.

But main asset of this game is story that will suck you into the game and wont let your attention wander away. The story unfolds continually through lenghty conversations. Sometimes a grain of humour appears in dialogues but even though the story is quite serious it always fits the situation perfectly.

All in all this project is quite successful which every freeware fan shouldn´t miss. It´s worth trying even though the download is huge.


Dave Gilbert

  • Mittens Vassal
  • Hi. Our names are FRIGGING ADORABLE.
    • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
    • Dave Gilbert worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Dave Gilbert worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
It's not the usual website but it is in czech:

http://tomus.bloguje.cz/89840_item.php

Could you do the honors, Jaz?

jaz

  • Mamma MIA!
    • jaz worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
Here you go and try to get things straight ;)


Legend - a Czechoslovak gaming magazine


Being editor of freeware section of Level it´s one of my duties to get permission from authors to publish their works on cover CDs or DVDs. From time by time, apart from confirmation e-mails I get a feedback when someone mentions that his game has appeared in certain issue of Level and sometimes even a link is added. This was also probably intention of Dave Gilbert, an AGS scene celebrity, when he mentioned our deal concerning publication of his new game Two of a kind in Christmas issue. However, this little news took an interesting spin.

This is what it reads:

11-24-04
I just got word that "Two of a Kind" is going to be included in the christmas issue of Legend Magazine, a Czechoslovakian gaming magazine. So if you hail from Czechoslovakia, be sure and check it out!"

Level was dubbed Legend  (which confused me to such an extent that I started thinking about what kind of deal Dave could have made with Legenda – another Czech magazine specialised generaly in fantasy and games)

And, however,  phrase  "best-selling Czech magazine about computer games" is included in all my e-mails it turned out „Czechoslovakian“ in Dave´s news. What a clear proof that neither ice hockey and soccer players nor politicians succeedeed in propagation of Czech republic abroad very well and even really smart people often don´t know that Czechia & Slovakia are not one country any more for twelve years already

 Well, nothing doing… At least Dave got the most important thing correct – a webpage link which gets things straight.

P. S.: Nevertheless, pay attention! Two of a Kind itself is totally sweet humorous cartoony adventure, and the fact that it gets high marks on sites like Adventure Gamers or Home of the Underdogs is surely not coincidental.


SSH

  • Flying round the world at the speed of haggis
    • I can help with scripting
    • SSH worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • SSH worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Heh, having had an ex-girlfriend from Bratislava and having sailed up the Danube from Budapest to Vienna, I have overcome the confusion that exists between so many people between Czech Repulbic, Slovakia and even Slovenia... :=

Vel

    • Vel worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Vel worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
I'd be pretty grateful if you translated this, jaz:
http://plnehry.idnes.cz/adventure/thehamlet.html